Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has opened her great experiment to promote national unity. She presided over the first meeting of the political reform forum on Sunday. Several ex-prime ministers attended, and the forum has many more sessions to run. Next week, foreign participants will weigh in with their ideas of national reconciliation. But there is a very uncomfortable feel of smoke and mirrors in the air.
If one believes the polls, Thais in general support the goal of this process. They have, however, both scepticism and specific problems with its opening days. These suspicions add up to greater hurdles than the one cited by Ms Yingluck and her staff.
The prime minister has said for several weeks that her greatest concern for now is the boycott of her unity effort by the Democrat Party, as well as the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). She has not said this directly, but it is clear to everyone: If major opposition groups refuse even to discuss reconciliation, then there will be none.